Although this news may well come as a bit of a surprise to the many of you who know Steve, not least because of the lifetime of dedication he has shown in his fight against meningitis, the move and its timing have been long planned.
Steve will not be replaced when he leaves and he will focus on raising funds for preventative research at the Spencer Dayman Meningitis Laboratories at the University of Bristol.
Steve has dedicated his life to fighting meningitis since he and his wife Gloria lost Spencer aged 14 months in 1982. At that time, there were no vaccines that could have prevented meningitis and very little information or support to help people affected by the disease.
Steve was one of the founding parents of the Meningitis Trust and went on to set up the Meningitis Research Foundation in 1989 and Meningitis UK in 1999.
In 2013, when Meningitis Now was formed by the merger of the Meningitis Trust and Meningitis UK, Steve took on the role of Executive Founder and played a crucial role supporting bereaved families and raising funds and vital awareness. During this time, Steve made himself available to families on a 24/7 basis and has personally raised millions of pounds.
Steve will now set up his own charity in Spencer’s name to continue to raise funds for the Spencer Dayman Meningitis Laboratories at the University of Bristol. Raising funds to support research to prevent meningitis has been Steve’s focus for the past four decades.
He said ‘Fighting meningitis has been a life’s work and we have seen incredible success. When we lost Spencer, I was told not to expect to see a vaccine in my lifetime and now we have five in the NHS immunisation schedule.
Sad to leave
“I will be sad to leave Meningitis Now – the charity where it all started - but I wish to focus my efforts on preventative scientific research. This decision is right for me and will allow me to continue the fight by supporting the laboratories we founded in Spencer’s name two decades ago.”
Meningitis Now Chief Executive Officer Dr Tom Nutt said: “No-one has done more to fight meningitis than Steve, who has never lost his determination to prevent this terrible disease. We would not be the charity we are today without Steve.
“We look forward to working with Steve as we continue the fight to defeat meningitis in the UK and to reach out to ensure people get the help, support and information they need.”